William Powell AM meets constituents during national Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week 2014 to raise the profile of this chronic autoimmune disease, which affects over 30,000 people in Wales
Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week takes place in Wales from 16 - 22 June and started off with an event in the National Assembly for Wales and publication of new research on chronic fatigue.
Wednesday 18th June - William Powell AM met up with local constituents and NRAS Ambassadors Vanessa Phillips and Jean Bailey-Dering (picture attached) during a launch event for national Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week at the National Assembly for Wales and discussed concerns about variations in the quality of services for rheumatoid arthritis patients across Wales.
On the same day, the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) released a major new report called Invisible Disease: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Fatigue that highlighted shocking new evidence about the high impact chronic fatigue has on people with rheumatoid arthritis and the urgent need to improve its management.
The report surveyed 1, 954 people with RA across the UK. It found that chronic fatigue is a widespread symptom with 89% of people with RA reporting that they experienced chronic fatigue, and 94% saying that their episodes of chronic fatigue lasted several hours or all day.
The report also highlighted the significant impact chronic fatigue has on work. 71% of unemployed people of working age with the disease said their fatigue had contributed to their inability to work and an overwhelming 83% said they felt the public was not at all aware of the impact that chronic fatigue on people with RA.
William Powell AM said:
"I am delighted to be able to lend my support to national RA Awareness Week and to help raise the profile of this chronic autoimmune disease which affects so many people in Wales. The findings in the new NRAS report about the impact of chronic fatigue are truly shocking and I look forward to working with the charity and its members to help improve care for patients."
The Survey - 2,029 respondents answered the survey, with 75 respondents stating that they had 'never had fatigue'. This means a total of 1,954 respondents completed the survey all the way to the end. The questions in the survey were developed by NRAS in order to explore the range of impacts on chronic fatigue and to provide insight for RA awareness week 2014.
•Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age. Around three quarters of people with rheumatoid arthritis are first diagnosed when of working age and women are three times as likely as men to have the disease.
•690,000 people in the UK (1%) have rheumatoid arthritis costing the NHS approximately £560 million per year. The National Audit Office estimate that the total cost of RA to the UK economy is £4.8 billion per year.
•The mission of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) is 'working for a better life for people living with rheumatoid arthritis' and this is sought by providing information, education, support and advocacy; raising public and government awareness of rheumatoid arthritis; campaigning for equity of access to best treatment and care; and facilitating the networking of people with rheumatoid arthritis and encouraging self-help.
•NRAS provides support, information and advocacy for people with rheumatoid arthritis and their families, friends and carers. NRAS provides a resource for health professionals and works closely with rheumatology health care professionals across the UK